South Carolina wants to execute Bobby Wayne Stone but has no drugs
This undated photo made available by the South Carolina Department of Corrections shows Bobby Wayne Stone who is scheduled to die on December 1 for the 1996 shooting death of a Sumter County Sheriff's deputy.South Carolina Department of Corrections / AP file
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South Carolina has scheduled its first execution in six years but can’t get the drugs to carry it out — prompting the governor to call for a law shielding the identity of suppliers.
There are 39 inmates on South Carolina’s death row. Last week, the courts set a Dec. 1 date for Bobby Wayne Stone, 52, who was convicted of murdering a sheriff’s deputy in 1997.
The state’s protocol calls for three drugs, including pentobarbital, which manufacturers won't sell to prisons for executions.
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Gov. Henry McMaster said the state has made "intense efforts" to get the drugs but can’t find a compounding pharmacy to make them.
"They are afraid their names will be made known and they don’t want to have anything to do with it for fear of retribution," McMaster said. "We're at a dead stop and we can’t do anything about it."
Other states have passed laws shrouding their suppliers in secrecy, although courts have overturned or expressed concerns about some of them.
McMaster said he was asking the state's General Assembly to pass a shield law quickly.
Major pharmaceutical companies refuse to sell their products for executions and bar their wholesalers from doing the same. Last week, Pfizer demanded that Nevada return any of its branded fentanyl or diazepam, which the state bought from a wholesaler.
After hitting a record low last year, executions are up slightly in 2017, on pace to end the year at two dozen lethal injections.
An execution in Ohio was cancelled last week when officials could not locate a good vein in the chronically ill inmate's arms or legs to administer the deadly drug cocktail.
Tracy Connor is a senior writer for NBC News. She started this role in December, 2012. Connor is responsible for reporting and writing breaking news, features and enterprise stories for NBCNews.com. Connor joined NBC News from the New York Daily News, where she was a senior writer covering a broad range of news and supervising the health and immigration beats. Prior to that she was an assistant city editor who oversaw breaking news and the courts and entertainment beats.
Earlier, Connor was a staff writer at the New York Post, United Press International and Brooklyn Paper Publications.
Connor has won numerous awards from journalism organizations including the Deadline Club and the New York Press Club.